All my life I’ve been super driven, focused singularly on one thing important to me at that time in my life.
In high school, I was in a program called Odyssey of the Mind (Yes, I was, and am still most definitely a nerd). I spent countless hours under lamplight carefully constructing small 8” structures of balsa wood and super glue. I was so into it that my fingerprints started to come off because of the number of times I peeled off the hardened glue from my fingertips. I did this all in hopes that we would make it to the World Finals (which we did.)
As I came into my senior year, I decided I wanted to play volleyball in college. So my parents taped a $20 bill to the roof of our garage and I worked to improve my vertical jump. One day, I reached it, and then I touched the rim, and six months later I received a full-ride scholarship to play Division I volleyball.
My junior year, I switched to the Gonzaga University rowing team. Not only did I find out how much I loved the sport of rowing, but I also discovered that I was naturally gifted as a rower. Upon graduation, I moved out to Boston to train with the goal of making the national rowing team.
Then it was UniteBoston – I was determined to do what I could to help churches in the city work together. I fasted & prayed, studied books, and have met hundreds of pastors and leaders over these past three years.
Paul writes about how he “strenuously contends with all the energy that Christ so powerfully works in him” (Colossians 1:29). I really resonate with that – It’s like my life has been a consistent story of all my energy being poured into one thing.
While single-minded devotion is a good thing, at this time in my life, I’m seeking balance – that all these streams might become channeled together to create one, big, mighty river.
What is balance? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines balance as “A state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts.” These equal and proper amounts are easier said than done; most of the time, different aspects of life tend to overtake others.
For me, that’s ministry. My M.O. is to be a work-a-holic, and when your work life intersects with your greatest passion, the things that you do bring you so much life that you just want to do them all the time.
Recently I’ve come to understand that yes, that work I’m doing here in the city is indeed important. But God never wanted me to be so focused on it that I would lose other good, parts of life, like spending time with family, being healthy, or having a social life. Our purpose is not to be ministry machines; it’s to be sons and daughters of Jesus Christ. Sons and daughters are not focused on obeying orders; they just live life out of relationship with their Father, displaying that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
This is revolutionary. It means He is just as much in my time playing Frisbee or in the afternoon traffic jam as my morning devotional times. It’s just a matter of perspective. Our challenge is to so integrate Jesus into us that we don’t even need to be aware of Him, like the air we breathe.
From what I can tell, our society sees balance as juggling plates – school, work, friends, family, hobbies – the list goes on and on. There are dozens of books about organizing, strategizing, and maximizing. But the problem is that it can be incredibly exhausting to view balance as keeping all these plates up in the air.
In contrast, when I think of balance, I see someone whose feet are on the ground, firmly planted. In fact, another definition of balance is “the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall.” What I believe balance really speaks of is a rootedness, a groundedness. When you stand on the rock of Jesus Christ, everything else falls into place. It’s like standing in the eye of a hurricane – while everyone and everything swirls around you, there is peace in your midst. Because balance is a state of equilibrium, leading to stability and ultimately harmony among all that life entails.
Balance doesn’t come from the outward activities of our life. It comes from the inward posture of our heart. It is when we see Jesus in everything that we have the balance that we all desire.